Star appoints Michelle Guthrie as CEO

MUMBAI: Star Group announced a new CEO this morning: Michelle Guthrie who was earlier executive vice president of Regional Distribution and Business Development for Star. She will be stepping into the shoes of chairman and CEO James Murdoch who was recently appointed to head BSkyB in the UK.


Guthrie is believed to have a great understanding of the pay TV business. Her key responsibility earlier was to identify and explore business opportunities for the company. She also oversees the distribution of Star channels for the South East Asia region.

Announcing her appointment, News Corp's chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch was quoted in a company release as saying, "Michelle is one of a handful of people in Asia with over a decade of truly in-depth pay television experience. With her business acumen, sharp sense for new opportunities, her strong ability to run diverse operations and enthusiasm for the TV business, I am confident that she will take Star's business to the next level of growth and profitability."

Outgoing chairman and CEO of Star James Murdoch also said,"I have every confidence that Michelle will be a dynamic and energetic leader for Star. I wish Michelle and all my former colleagues the utmost success."

Guthrie joined Star in June 2000. Prior to that, she was Director of Legal and Business Affairs at Foxtel, Australia's leading subscription television provider, which is 25 percent owned by News Corp. She had responsibility of all legal and business development functions of Foxtel.

Before Foxtel, Guthrie was corporate counsel in London for News International and British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), the premier digital satellite television service in the UK and 36 per cent owned by News Corp. 

Guthrie joined News Corp in 1994 from Allen, Allen and Hemsley, an Australia law firm. She worked as a lawyer in both the Sydney and Singapore offices of Allens. 

She takes up her assignment at a time when Star's India operations are extremely profitable and China is beginning to show profitability. Her challenge will be to drive the company further into these markets and steer it into DTH, and pure pay TV plays with higher subscription revenues.

Talking about her post, Guthrie said, "I am very excited to be given this opportunity to steer the company to its next phase of growth. Over the last three and a half years, I have had the chance to work closely with James and all my colleagues as Star strengthened its position as the industry leader. I am looking forward to continue working with such a strong team."

Insiders aver that Star TV's first woman CEO may more than prove to be up to the task.

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